Our love affair with yuzu shows no signs of abating – and one of our favourite ways to consume this aromatic Japanese citrus juice is in ponzu sauce. Ponzu is a tangy, zingy Japanese sauce made by simmering mirin (rice wine), rice vinegar, katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and seaweed, then infusing with the Japanese citrus juice. It’s commonly mixed with soy sauce to make ponzu shoyu, a versatile dipping sauce, dressing and marinade, which (somewhat confusingly) may be simply referred to as ponzu.
No matter what you’ll call it, you’ll find endless uses for ponzu in your kitchen. Keep an eye out for ponzu sauce in the Asian food aisle of your local supermarket, then discover five ways to use Japanese ponzu sauce and experiment with some of our favourite Japanese recipes below.
The secret to authentic beef tataki is to freeze the seared beef before cutting it, so you can slice it into wafer-thin pieces. Dip these rare slices of beef into a tangy ponzu dipping sauce for an elegant Japanese entrée.
Japan’s essential fried chicken, karaage is a lip-smacking combination of juicy chicken thighs coated in spices and deep-fried to golden perfection. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over and a dish of ponzu sauce for dipping – the citrus hit will cut through the richness of the chicken.
With its balance of citrusy flavours and salty umami depth, ponzu sauce makes a fantastic salad dressing. Use it to season this beef tataki salad, or replace the dressing in this recipe for tangy cold cha soba noodles.
If you’ve gone to the effort of making your own Japanese gyoza dumplings from scratch, then save a bit of time by serving ready-made ponzu sauce on the side. The citrus and soy notes work a treat with these pork potstickers.
Add an instant hit of citrus-soy flavour to beef steaks and pork fillet by marinating in ponzu for 15 minutes – don’t leave it too long as the acidic properties of the sauce will begin to break down the protein.
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